Fighting erupts between Rwandan and DR Congo soldiers

Fighting erupts between Rwandan and DR Congo soldiers
Rwandan troops

KINSHASA - A gunbattle erupted Wednesday between soldiers from the Democratic Republic of Congo and rival Rwandan forces on their volatile border, local Congolese officials said.

The fighting began before dawn in Kanyesheza, about 20 kilometres (12 miles) northeast of the provincial capital Goma, and lasted over four hours, the officials said.

It was not immediately known if there were any casualties.

According to one local government official, DR Congo forces opened fire after one of their soldiers was abducted by Rwandan forces in the border zone.

Rwanda is accused by the United Nations of backing rebels in the strife-torn Democratic Republic of Congo.

"I heard shooting... people panicked," said one local resident who did not want to be named.

But the governor of the province of North Kivu, Julien Paluku, sought to play down the fighting.

"There was shooting between elements from the Rwandan army and the FARDC (the Congolese army) in Kanyesheza," he told AFP.

"They were minor incidents, not fighting between two armies," he said, accusing the Rwandan army of sparking the fighting.

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